You’ve probably heard the term, but why should you care?
If you’re a runner who has ever seen a podiatrist or sports medicine doctor, gone to physical therapy, or even just shopped for running shoes, chances are that you’ve heard the term pronation. But what does this mean and how does it affect you as a runner?
What Is pronation?
Pronation is the inward movement of the foot as it rolls to optimally distribute the force of impact on the ground as you run. With “normal” pronation, the foot “rolls” inward about 15 percent, comes in complete contact with the ground, and can support your body weight without any problem. Pronation is critical to proper shock absorption, and it helps you push off evenly from the ball of the foot at the end of the gait cycle.
Although pronation is a natural movement of the foot, the size and strength of the runner’s arch can affect the foot’s ability to roll, causing either supination (under-pronation) or over-pronation. Although in the past, running shoes were marketed as a way to counteract your level of pronation and prevent injury, more recent research suggests that shoes chosen simply by which felt the most comfortable were also the most efficient and best at reducing injury. Because of this, the major running brands have since abandoned that strategy and now focus on shoes that feel comfortable to you.
Either way, it’s still important to find running shoes that provide the most comfortable support for your arch and pronation tendencies. Seeking out a gait analysis at a specialty running store can help you figure out what might work for you.
Did you know that Totalsports have run labs that help you figure out whether you over- or underpronate? They’ll also help you find the correct shoe for your particular gait. Find out more here.